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Teachers: Literacy:

Last Updated: Thursday November 03 2005 14:30 GMT

Internet and mobile safety



A government-supported internet safety campaign, called Get Safe Online, launched on 1 November.

Computer experts are visiting over 200 schools during November to explain to pupils in England and Northern Ireland how to protect themselves from dangers such as email bullying.

In addition, packs, being sent out to every UK secondary school, explain how to keep computers safe from viruses and other problems.

This lesson supports this campaign by showing students a video and asking them to answer questions about internet and mobile safety.

It has been produced by BBC ChatGuide. Their website,, has lots of excellent resources including printable Key Stage 2 and 3 teaching kits. Click on the link in the top-right, navy box.

Learning aims

By the end of the lesson the children should:

    Understand all about chatting to others on the internet and on mobiles Be aware of the main difficulties they may meet online or on mobiles (bullying, spam etc) Know the 'rules of the online road' and how to protect themselves
Teacher preparation - the week before

Address any of the students' knowledge gaps about the internet and email.

Read the Teachers' background and Glossary (at the bottom of this lesson plan).

Try out some chatrooms, use instant messaging and visit a message board.

The lesson - Ice-breaker

Ask for a show of hands: How many people use the internet/email/chat/text every day?

Make a class list of the all the different things the internet is for.

Ask students: Has anybody ever had any problems on the internet or from email (spam, bullying, computer viruses, arguments in chatrooms)?

Main activity

A computer

Video and questions

Hand out this quiz worksheet on the 15-minute video and ask the class to note down the answers to the questions as the video is playing.

Play the video by going to the relevant page of the ChatGuide website (See link in the top-right, navy box).

Check the answers to the quiz.

Extension activity

Message button

Internet diary

Students write a diary of their internet diary for the past week.

The diary and following prompts are available as a printable worksheet.

In pairs, using the diaries as a starting point, students tell their partner:

    How they use the internet How they use email How they use mobile texting How they meet people online About their online buddies About any online communities or online groups they belong to If they have ever been bullied online or via their mobile phone If they have ever received any emails they have not wanted to receive If they have ever gone to a website address and found it contained material which might have upset them If they have ever received any marketing pop-ups or emails they didn't want to receive

Wrap up the lesson by underlining these 'rules of the online road':

    Keep your personal details safe (passwords, name, address) NEVER meet up with someone you have met online 'in real life' on your own Don't open attachments sent by people you don't know, they may contain viruses People use 'personas' or different identities online. Ask yourself is the person I have met online reliable? Are they really the age they say they are? If anybody bullies you online or via your mobile phone tell someone and get help If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable online, leave the chat and tell someone if it continues Never accept emails from people you don't know. Don't open any attachments as they may contain viruses
Teachers' background

A child using a mobile phone
atb all the best
bbfn bye bye for now
cul8er see you later
gr8 great!
idk I don't know
imbl it must be love
kit keep in touch
paw parents are watching
lol laugh out loud
xlnt excellent!

Most young people chat or text each other daily either online or via their mobile phones.

This is increasingly how children organise their social lives.

They are adept at technology; messaging and swapping photos via their mobiles is easy, but do they know how to protect themselves from the small element that causes trouble?

Bullying is on the increase online and on mobiles and there is always the small danger of other more serious anti-social behaviour.

It is highly unlikely your students will encounter this, but you should teach them the 'online rules of the road' to ensure they know how to protect themselves in the event anything does happen.

Teenagers particularly gain great benefit from interacting with the huge community of other teens online all over the world. However, these benefits have to be weighted against the well-publicised risks.

Some are shy 'in real life' but socialise with confidence behind an online persona.

Many teenagers find support from people of their own age, on relationship issues or problems at home such as divorce and family bereavement.


There are two main kinds of online conversations you can have, and they are both in text.

One happens instantly (chatrooms and instant messaging for example).

The other is more like leaving a sticky note on a notice board which others can reply to by leaving a second note at any time later (message boards or forums).

Chatroom - A web page that contains a large window into which you can type text, enabling a real-time conversation between many people at the same time. Up to 50 people at a time can chat together simultaneously. A side-window gives the names of those who are 'online' with you.

Private Chatroom - Some websites allow people to open their own chatrooms to have one to one conversations with others as they wish. It is much more fun, and safer, for children to stay in public chatrooms.

Instant Messaging - A very small window where you can chat to a small group of up to 10 people at a time. Instant Messaging ('IM') is normally used for one to one conversations in real time. It's safer than private chatrooms as only people who you have put on your own 'buddy list' can communicate with you. However, you have to be very careful who you allow on your buddy list.

Message Board (or 'forum') - Messages are left asynchronously and appear as lists or 'threads' for others to see.

Online Community - Groups of friends or fans who meet regularly and chat to each other in chatrooms or message board discussions. Online Communities normally form around hobbies, interests or 'cult' television programmes.

Flaming - Duplicate or off-topic messages posted time after time, in order to disrupt a chatroom.

Spam - unwanted emails.

Mobile Chat ('texting' or 'SMS-ing') - You are likely to be familiar with texting on mobile phones but here's some examples of text messages. For more go to

For facts about the dangers of chating online, compiled with the assistance of The Lucy Faithfull Foundation and NCH - the childrens' charity - visit the chatguide website and download the KS3 lesson plan.

Useful links and further resources

BBC ChatGuide:

BBC Teens:




Childnet Challenge:

For Kids By Kids:

NCH The Childrens' Charity:



Parents Online:

BBC Schools page:

For hundreds more news-based stories, click on Teachers on the left-hand side.